Spoiled by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche. 2023.
Author: A Little Faith Lift…Finding Joy Beyond Rejection
AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Assoc.)

I should have spoken up.  At least then, the long-term damage might have been minimized.  Instead, I chose to stay silent.

No excuse.

While in Walmart this week, I was in the toy section when I overheard a mother in the next aisle holding her ground against her demanding daughter who insisted on getting a toy.  She was reminded that she had “hundreds” of toys at home that she never even played with, so she was not going to get another one.  “I am not buying you that doll.  You have dozens of them already.”  The whining continued, but the mother held her ground.  Yea, Mom!

When they ventured down my aisle, I was surprised to see that this was no toddler.  She was, perhaps, four or five years old.  As more things were pulled from the shelf, the youngster imploring her parent that she “needed” this or “needed” that, Mom held firm.

Tell her that you are proud of her for not allowing her daughter to win, I told myself.  Tell her.  The voice in my head persisted, but I said nothing.

You know what happened next.  As I checked out, the mom/daughter duo pulled their cart up next to mine.  Four toys (one, a doll) sat alongside a quart of milk and a loaf of bread.

NOOOOOOO, I wanted to scream.  Why did you give in to her?  You are creating a monster, a spoiled, “‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘No’” monster.  Of course, you probably already have asked yourself why this mother even brought her child into the toy section if she had no intention of buying her anything.  No doubt, this was not their first Walmart, toy story experience.

What is so hard about having our “no” mean “no” and our “yes” mean “yes”?  The Bible actually addresses that in Matthew 5:37: Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.                                

Our words matter; they should be reliable and sufficient. This scripture does not mean that adding words to our “yes” or “no” is demonic.  Verse 37 simply explains the verses preceding it in which Jesus is saying that we should not swear at all.  We should not have to “swear to God” or “cross my fingers, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye” or even “pinky promise.”

How many times have you heard a parent say, “How many times do I have to tell you…”?  Oh, I don’t know, Parent, probably as many times as you’re going to say it before you, in exasperation, start yelling or smacking or simply give in.  And we wonder why kids become entitled brats.

Proverbs 3:12 tells us that the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.  Discipline is necessary, Readers, and I have to believe that the easiest way to teach our children right from wrong is to say what we mean and mean what we say.  If we’re going to say “No,” our “No” should have no Plan B.  Start early, and the lesson will be much less painful.

In “Empowering Parents.com,” several suggestions are given to make sure our kids do not grow up entitled.  Here are three:

1.  Don’t get pulled into fights with your child.

2.  Know that parenting is not a popularity contest.

3.  Saying “No” to your child takes practice.

Any one of those would have prevented what I witnessed in Walmart.  Not only would the child have learned some discipline, the mom would have as well.


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